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We're playing into their hands, and this morning's insightful diary on the almost-Filibuster really tells how the gears are working.  It covers the failure of Democrats to stand up and force Republicans to actually filibuster, but it doesn't frame that within the context of how it will be used against us in 2008.

The accusations and framing began well before the 2006 midterm elections.  Republican water-carriers Hannity, Rush, etc. harped on the idea that the Democrats would put forth "nothing but investigations."  That framing has been repeated literally thousands of times; it continues into the present.    

More after the flip..

Here's one example from this summer, courtesy Rush (click if you dare):

The Senate Democrats are all upset that the Iraqi parliament's taking a summer recess.  We're in the middle of a war.  How can they do this?  We're in the middle of a war.  And here we've got stunts and nothing being done by our own legislature, our own Congress, nothing but stunts, nothing but investigations, nothing but harassment, nothing of substance, and they have been on vacation all summer.  The only difference is I love it when they go on vacation.  When they go on vacation, nothing gets done, and one of the best things that can happen to the country is when they're in session or when there is gridlock.

While the Right was in a similar majority of less than 60 in the Senate from 2000 through 2006, for example in 2005, they derided filibusters with requests for "an up or down vote":

For months, Republicans have been saying that the Senate ought to hold an up-or-down vote on each of President Bush’s nominees for the federal courts. We agree. We also think it’s time for senators to go on record in an up-or-down vote on that question.

In reaction to the "nuclear option" (the removal of the filibuster as an option), a compromise was reached in which both parties agreed to filibuster only in 'extreme circumstances':

Fourteen Republican and Democratic senators broke with their party leaders last night to avert a showdown vote over judicial nominees, agreeing to votes on some of President Bush's nominees while preserving the right to filibuster others in "extraordinary circumstances."

Now, Republicans are effectively filibustering at a rate three times higher than ever before.  And all that's going to come from it is Republicans will claim to have "told us so," when it comes to Democrats and only seeing investigations come out of the current Congress.  It's not like this is secret--a recent item from the Young Turks tells us this:

I had a Republican colleague tell me it is the Republican strategy to try to prevent any accomplishment of the Democratic Congress. That is set in their caucus openly and directly that they don’t intend to allow Democrats to have any legislative successes, and they intend to do it by repeated filibuster.

So, call it out from the rooftops, because most of the stories about Congress' low approval rating include anything about this tactic--as this CBS reporter accurately points out, they usually state that a particular bill "fell short in the Senate," but nothing more.  Few people in the mass media are talking about this, so we need to write about it frequently:

Republican Filibusters, the reason Congress is getting nothing done.  

Originally posted to souldrift on Thu Sep 20, 2007 at 05:32 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (6+ / 0-)

    Anyone else think this is not getting enough attention?

  •  I love how Rush contradicts himself... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    souldrift, luckylizard

    ...griping about nothing getting done and then immediately applauding the fact. What a clown.

    Nevertheless I agree with your point that the filibuster strategy is intended to produce this "do nothing" story. I am baffled by Reid's approach. Why not say...since a filibuster is intended to continue debate that "we agree that this important issue should be debated more fully"...and have at it. It could only have served the Democrats to be talking for days about granting troops reasonable leave or restoration of fundamental rights...

  •  I can't believe (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cottagerose, luckylizard

    that things transitioned so quickly from "up or down votes" and the filibuster as this extreme last-resort option to the simple resignation in the statement that it takes 60 votes to pass something in the Senate.

    If I were Sen. Reid, I would not only force them to filibuster every time, I would replace their phone books with identically formatted lists of the war dead beforehand without telling them, and then hold a press conference outside the Capitol reading off testimony and transcripts of evidence from various Republican lies and scandals, stopping only when the Republicans drop the filibuster.

    If all you have is theater, put on a show!

    No laws but Liberty. No king but Conscience.

    by oldjohnbrown on Thu Sep 20, 2007 at 06:03:52 PM PDT

    •  "Put on a show" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      oldjohnbrown

      I like that idea!  I am absolutely in favor of real filibusters.  Rolling over every time the Repugs stymie them is rewarding bad behavior.  I don't understand the little dance they're doing here.  If there is some kind of grand strategy by the Dems it appears to be the best kept secret ever.  I'm so discouraged with the leadership.

      "We told the truth. We obeyed the law. We kept the peace." - Walter Mondale

      by luckylizard on Thu Sep 20, 2007 at 06:54:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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